Miss out on that coveted beach pass? Decided that driving in the Hamptons is more aggravation than it’s worth? Honking horns have spoken, and people are listening. Summer 2012 promises to ease our lead foot and clenched teeth with some viable public transportation options.
By Shuttle: First on the list is the return of the much-hyped Hamptons Free Ride service. Launched last summer by friends and East Hampton natives James Mirras and Alex Esposito, Hamptons Free Ride, which brought East Hamptonites to the beach with eco-friendly electric shuttles, was a huge success. The 2012 service will be back in action on Memorial Day weekend. This year, the duo is expanding their business to Montauk, and they hope to continue to offer various promotions to help engage riders with the local business community. And, yes, the service will still be free.
“We’re able to relieve a parking issue in an environmentally friendly way – it’s a win-win,” says Esposito, the sales and marketing director for Hamptons Free Ride.
Last year, Hamptons Free Ride partnered with area businesses to give riders discount cards. This year, Esposito hopes to further solidify the link between Hamptons Free Ride and the local business community, as the duo is pushing to make Hamptons Free Ride more of an experience. There will be frequent promotions and giveaways. For example, Vanity Fair will be doing gift bags one weekend.
“It was amazing to see the reaction people had to (the discount cards)…people are much quicker to react to something if they feel like they’ll get something from it,” says Esposito.
In East Hampton, Hamptons Free Ride looped around Main Beach, Main Street, Newtown Lane and the parking lot on Gingerbread Lane. Because Hamptons Free Ride did train station pickups, the service especially helped to boost East Hampton tourism.
“We’re encouraging people to come to the area, and hopefully to patronize businesses,” says Esposito.
By Bike: Though we’re all for growing businesses, many people’s favorite way to get to the beach has always been via bicycle. Fortunately, all Suffolk County busses now have bike racks available to bus riders free of charge. The busses can each accommodate two bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis.
By Ferry: For those of us who know that it takes upwards of an hour to circumvent the two forks, but can’t help but harp on the fact that the distance you’ve actually traveled is, as the crow flies, about nine miles, relief may be in sight. At press time, officials are floating the idea of approving a passenger ferry service from Sag Harbor to Greenport.
Of course, if none of these options will do, there’s always the Hamptons Subway.